I am a Professor of Hispanic linguistics in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I am also a faculty affiliate in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and in the Social Justice Initiative. I am also the founding ​​director of the Language in Context Research Group

Since 2009 I've served as Executive Editor of the journal Spanish in Context.


Most broadly, I am interested in the promotion of minority languages and multilingualism, particularly via elementary schooling. My work focuses on Spanish in the United States, including factors that influence intergenerational language transmission, connections between language and identity, and heritage language education. Some of my recent research topics include:

* Language development in dual immersion schools
* Mexican and Puerto Rican Spanish in Chicago, and the language and identity of mixed “Mexi-Rican” individuals
* Teaching heritage languages, particularly Spanish in the U.S.
* Spanish use in Chicago quinceañera celebrations
* The use of “Spanglish” in commercially published greeting cards

Here is a list of my invited (non-conference) presentations and some of my current research projects.

KUNR interview

I was interviewed by KUNR radio at the University of Nevada Reno about dual language education. Published June 11, 2019.

“We have to be careful to not let the white family interest trump the interest and needs of our English-language learning Latino children,” Potowski said. “These programs--most of them--were created for empowerment and to close the academic achievement gaps and the English-language learning issues of our ELL children. It’s very important to keep in mind as we create and implement these programs.”


Presentación en la UNAM Chicago

El 26 de junio tuve la oportunidad de participar en un excelente panel. Presenté sobre el español de Chicago.

Southern IL University: "Benefits of dual immersion education," 12/7/18

December 7, 2018

[Unfortunately, a few minutes were cut out at 28:12. I was talking about how, in tradition 'bilingual' programs, English Language Learners can sometimes feel that they are not as smart/successful as the kids who already know English. But in dual language programs, for 50-90% of the school day when classes are taught in Spanish, the Spanish-speaking children are positioned as successful, "los que sí saben," and that this can go a long way in promoting academic success.